It didn’t take long for the San Francisco 49ers to find the heir to former coveted defensive coordinator Robert Saleh. On Thursday, the New York Jets announced that they agreed in principle for Saleh to become their 20th head coach in franchise history.
Four days later, San Francisco announced the promotion of former linebackers coach DeMeco Ryans to fill the 49ers vacancy.
Here are five things to know about the 49ers new defensive coordinator:
Prior to the start of his coaching career, Ryans spent 10 years in the NFL between the Houston Texans (2006-11) and Philadelphia Eagles (2012-15). Ryans earned AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2006 and received First-Team All-Pro honors the ensuing season. Originally drafted in the second round (33rd overall) by the Texans in the 2006 NFL Draft, the two-time Pro Bowl linebacker finished his career with 971 total tackles, 13.5 sacks, seven forced fumbles, 10 fumble recoveries and seven interceptions, including one for a touchdown.
A native of Bessemer, AL, Ryans played linebacker at the University of Alabama (2002-05). As a senior, he was a unanimous All-American selection, SEC Defensive Player of the Year and earned First-Team All-SEC honors in 2005. Ryans also earned defensive MVP honors in the 2006 Cotton Bowl and was selected as the 2005 Lott Trophy recipient for his combination of athletic excellence and off-the-field achievements. He was also named to the 2006 class of the NCAA Top Eight Award. Other collegiate achievements include, 2005 Consensus First-Team All-American, 2005 SEC Defensive Player of the Year, 2005 Bednarik Trophy Semifinalist, 2005 Butkus Award Finalist, 2005 Draddy Award Finalist, 2005 Nagurski Award Finalist, 2005 Lombardi Award Semifinalist and 2004 Second-Team All-SEC.
3. Started from the Bottom
Ryans began his coaching career just four seasons ago with San Francisco. Ryans joined the 49ers new regime under Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch in 2017 as a defensive quality control coach. The following season, he was promoted to inside linebackers coach, which he held for the past three seasons.